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Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Aug 15;39(4):488-96. Epub 2004 Jul 30.

Hepatotoxicity of rifampin-pyrazinamide and isoniazid preventive therapy and tuberculosis treatment.

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  • 1Department of Tuberculosis Control, Municipal Health Service, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Severe liver injury has been attributed to preventive treatment of latent tuberculosis infection with a 2-month course of rifampin-pyrazinamide.


A retrospective cohort study in The Netherlands compared the hepatotoxicity of preventive treatment with rifampin-pyrazinamide with that of preventive treatment with isoniazid, and also with that of treatment for active tuberculosis containing at least isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide.


Preventive treatment with rifampin-pyrazinamide caused severe hepatotoxicity more often than did preventive treatment with isoniazid (odds ratio [OR], 2.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.26-5.39; P=.012), especially in patients <25 years old. It also caused severe hepatotoxicity more often than triple- or quadruple-drug tuberculosis treatment (OR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.21-5.59; P=.016), especially if the pyrazinamide dose was > or =30 mg/kg. Preventive treatment with rifampin-pyrazinamide was more hepatotoxic even when the advised pyrazinamide dose of up to 20 mg/kg for preventive treatment was compared with the pyrazinamide dose of 30 mg/kg for tuberculosis treatment.


Preventive treatment with rifampin-pyrazinamide causes severe hepatotoxicity more often than does preventive treatment with isoniazid or curative treatment for tuberculosis.

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